Signs and symptoms of disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) depend on its cause and whether the condition is acute or chronic.
Acute DIC develops quickly (over hours or days) and is very serious. Chronic DIC develops more slowly (over weeks or months). It lasts longer and usually isn't recognized as quickly as acute DIC.
With acute DIC, blood clotting in the blood vessels usually occurs first, followed by bleeding. However, bleeding may be the first obvious sign. Serious bleeding can occur very quickly after developing acute DIC. Thus, emergency treatment in a hospital is needed.
Blood clotting also occurs with chronic DIC, but it usually doesn't lead to bleeding. Sometimes chronic DIC has no signs or symptoms.
In DIC, blood clots form throughout the body's small blood vessels. These blood clots can reduce or block blood flow through the blood vessels. This can cause the following signs and symptoms:
In DIC, the increased clotting activity uses up the platelets and clotting factors in the blood. As a result, serious bleeding can occur. DIC can cause internal and external bleeding.
Internal bleeding can occur in your body's organs, such as the kidneys, intestines, and brain. This bleeding can be life threatening. Signs and symptoms of internal bleeding include:
External bleeding can occur underneath or from the skin, such as at the site of cuts or an intravenous (IV) needle. External bleeding also can occur from the mucosa. (The mucosa is the tissue that lines some organs and body cavities, such as your nose and mouth.)
External bleeding may cause purpura (PURR-purr-ah) or petechiae (peh-TEE-key-ay). Purpura are purple, brown, and red bruises. This bruising may happen easily and often. Petechiae are small red or purple dots on your skin.
Other signs of external bleeding include:
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November 20, 2013
Gary H. Gibbons
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